It's Friday in Tehran, and there's one thing that's certain: Once again we will be treated to the wonders of technology as the Western media pipes a regular stream of images into our news feeds yet again.
And yet, when one steps back and looks at the longer term, things become ever more clear:—The Western press in Iran has become nothing more than a repeater, echoing words and ideas straight from the Iranian regime without thought, without contemplation.
The meme unfolds in photos of Tehran University's weekly Friday sermons, illustrating a society completely aligned with its dictatorial regime.
Which, coincidentally, is exactly what the regime wants you to see.
So to expose this regular stream of propaganda, I've put together a little illustration of the bit players that help make it possible. Please follow along beyond the fold as I take you on a tour of the epicenter... of rage.
But First, an Introduction
Tehran University holds a special place in the Iranian regime—for it was the very students there that helped cement the Islamic Republic's existence back in 1979. Since then, Tehran University has been the site of the regime's official Friday muslim prayers, usually hosted by clerics affiliated with the Iranian government.
And our Western media has faithfully covered these prayer services ever since.
This man figures prominently in the wire coverage of the Friday services. I've spotted him in photos with the Ayatollah Khamenei, and suspect that he serves some semi-official function in the Iranian government, but since I can't locate those pics at the moment, I'll just say that his position might have something to do with his celebrity.
For those of you who don't remember how olden Snapped Shot works, you can click on any of the below pictures to view the scene in a larger size.
A scarf sets the attire today, July 23, 2010.
It went better with beads on July 16, 2010.
Sporting the pious bling on April 2, 2010.
Opting for the hat on March 19, 2010.
Sporting a killer beard on February 26, 2010.
An action packed Friday on December 19, 2008.
He sets an example for Iran's youth on May 23, 2008.
Incredibly Angry Guy
But the real star of our show is Incredibly Angry Guy, who just seems to be quite agitated wherever he's spotted. This fact probably explains why he's so popular on the wire services… and right here at Snapped Shot!
He was last seen raging at America on April 20, 2010.
Sporting some stylish camo on February 26, 2010.
He's truly living the rage guy dream.
Like the wild times of October 2, 2009.
Rage this good takes skill.
He stands for all of Iran on July 10, 2009.
He clearly demands attention.
Which the press often gives.
As symbolically as they can.
He cheerleads away on June 26, 2009.
Whether for show or for real, he stands out.
Reaching for the stars on June 3, 2009.
There are some other regular bit players that show up in the wire service feeds, but for lack of time, I will perhaps save them for another day. The two gentlemen highlighted above are clearly the most popular amongst the entire group.
The Question Is "Why?"
So why is it that this merry band of stragglers demands such attention from the Western media? Reuters even goes so far as to admit in caption that it's reporting only the photographs and events that the Iranian government allows it to, but why do they insist on reducing themselves to this?
I've pointed this out in the past, but maybe I should lay it out more clearly:—The antidote to oppressive regimes is refusing to play by their rules. That means that when the thuggish Iranian regime insists that Reuters only cover the events that Tehran dictates, Reuters should respond with a resounding "No," and continue to cover the stories that ultimately matter (like the recently-crushed revolution, which they didn't cover directly).
And when the dictatorial power doesn't back down, neither should Reuters.
Instead, the wire service should remove itself officially from Iran, insisting formally that it will not operate an office in a country that suppresses the free operation of the press. In parallel to this very public move, Reuters should then do its best to equip the Iranian people directly with the tools they need to bring the story to the media—Cameras, cell phones with cameras, and the like. The information provided to the Western media then becomes the unfiltered, hard news that the agencies supposedly want to bring to their readers.
Instead of this type of bravery, we consumers instead must continue to suffer under mediocrity and abject pandering like the above series.
If it weren't so funny, it'd be sad.